DEP to hold meeting on tire burner approval

In response to public concern over the recent approval of an air quality permit for a tire-burning facility in White Deer Township, Union County, the Department of Environmental Protection will hold an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Warrior Run Area Fire Department at 196 White Deer Ave. in Allenwood.

The En-Tire Logistics of Milton PA LLC facility will burn tires as a primary fuel and natural gas as a back-up fuel. The electricty and steam will be used to power manufacturing operations at the neighboring National Gypsum plant, which produces drywall.

The state Department of Environmental Protection ultimately approved En-Tire’s air quality plan after determining it met all applicable federal and state air quality regulatory requirements. The deadline to appeal the approval is Oct. 25.

“It appeared there was an interest in the department explaining the process it follows to reach a final decision. In order to ensure accurate information is provided to the public, the department elected to hold this informational meeting,” DEP Community Relations Coordinator Daniel Spadoni said.

During the public comment period for the air quality plan, DEP received over 400 comments from the general public, elected officials and environmental advocacy groups. Many were concerned about the facility’s emissions and potential health risks, especially to children.

The plant will be located less than 1.5 miles away from White Deer Elementary School.

“The impact of certain air contaminants on children was accounted for in the risk assessment,” Spadoni said, adding that “the proximity to the school is not something in the department’s purview for this application review.”

DEP conducted modeling as part of the inhalation risk assessment, which accounted for the location of the facility, and determined that the emissions posed “short and long-term risks below inhalation risk assessment benchmarks,” according to Spadoni. Emissions from the combustion process will be minimized using “all best available control technology,” Spadoni said.

The plant will be less polluting than tire-burning facilities of the past because improvements in technology enable regulators “to push the emissions of air contaminants to lower and lower levels,” according to Spadoni.

The facility will be subject to ongoing monitoring to ensure compliance with emissions limitations.